View Full Version : Who's the best Mama Rose?

08-08-2005, 06:06 PM
My one copy of GYPSY is now unplayable (or, in gay lingo, "we've got an S-297 emergency- a Sondheim 2-9-7, Code Saffron") so I'm going to replace it. I haven't decided which one though. So, the Mama Rose recordings available include

The original- ETHEL MERMAN (a bit grainy and campy though)
-The movie- Rosalind Russell (the harder notes were dubbed)
-the first revival- Angela Lansbury
-the second revival- Tyne Daly
-the TV remake- Bette Midler
-the most recent revival- Bernadette Peters

Who's your pick for the best Mama Rose?

08-08-2005, 06:29 PM
The first Broadway show I ever saw was Tyne Daly's Gypsy. She was excellent.

I could see Bette being good, too.

I'm a little surprised Liza never played the role....

08-08-2005, 06:51 PM
I've heard Merman, Russell, Lansbury and Midler and overall I give the nod to Midler, but Roz kicks her ass on "Mama's Turn."

But when it comes to Gypsy, all must kneel down before Faith Dane as Mazeppa. Kneel down before Mazeppa!

08-08-2005, 06:57 PM
I of course meant "Rose's Turn."

Please don't take away my homo card.

08-08-2005, 07:00 PM
The only two I've heard are Midler and Russell. I'm not sure, however, how much of that is because Midler is better(or at least more to my taste) and how much of that is because I saw Midler's performance when I was young and impressionable and fond of Bette and therefore found most differences between that version and the movie version with Russell to be better in Midler's version. Certainly I thought Midler looked more like Mama Rose should look- but we may be back to the "the version I saw first is the best" circularity.

08-08-2005, 07:04 PM
There is a missing sentence in my above post. This sentence should read " I like Midler's version much better" It should go between the first sentence and the one that says "I'm not sure . . .".

You being bright dopers, you probably figured that out already, but for the sake of anyone who couldn't. . . .

Beware of Doug
08-08-2005, 07:30 PM
Bernadette Peters. Because she is sexy, and being so, she made Rose sexy. And there are definitely sexual yearnings in Rose.

Besides, the Mazeppa in the Peters revival was the cousin of a guy I work with. And she uumphed. And she uumphed. And she uumphed uumphed uumphed.

08-08-2005, 08:19 PM
I'm a huge Bernadette Peters fan...

I've seen Tyne Daly do the role live.

Still, this is a role that Ethel Merman defined, and I think everyone else does it in her shadow.

08-08-2005, 08:36 PM
Roz is my personal favorite, but Bette was great too. Why limit yourself to one? :D

08-08-2005, 11:44 PM
I love Merman. I have to. I'm a gay man. And she was the original Mama Rose.

I love Angela Lansbury. As Mame Dennis. As Mama Rose, not so much.

I never heard Tyne Daley's version, so I have no opinion on that one.

I love Bernadette. She is the modern Merman, as far as ubiquity, range and importance to Broadway go. And her Mama Rose is great.

However...I really think that Midler takes the prize in the Mama Rose sweepstakes. She conveyed the brassiness and chutzpah of Rose Hovak perfectly, even more so than Merman. Plus, her Herbie sings. Very well, too!

08-08-2005, 11:45 PM
Oh, and Roz is great as well, for someone who didn't usually do musicals, but I'd have to put her just above Lansbury in the ratings. Now, Roz Russell as the musical Mame....that I'd pay to see.

08-09-2005, 01:13 AM
The Merm, of course!

And I'm a straight white woman. There was nobody like her.

Bette Midler is my close second, but haaaail yeah, Mama Rose will always belong to Ethel. She owned that part.

08-09-2005, 02:49 AM
I, too, ask why don't you get them all?

I vote for Bette, although I did see Bernadette on Broadway and she was good. But I prefer Bette.